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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010057

Assessment of Nutritional Status of Infants Living in Arsenic-Contaminated Areas in Bangladesh and Its Association with Arsenic Exposure

1
Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics (CCEB), School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health, The University of Newcastle, Kookaburra Close, New Lambton Heights, NSW 2305, Australia
2
Department of Chemistry, Wagner College, 1 Campus Road, Staten Island, NY 10301, USA
3
Goulburn Valley Health, Graham Street, Shepparton, VIC 3630, Australia
4
Department of Paediatrics, Institute of Child and Mother Health, Matuail, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh
5
International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Mohakhali, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh
6
Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne, Graham Street, Shepparton, VIC 3630, Australia
7
School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, VIC 3125, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 November 2017 / Revised: 26 December 2017 / Accepted: 27 December 2017 / Published: 2 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arsenic Contamination, Bioavailability and Public Health)
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Abstract

Data is scarce on early life exposure to arsenic and its association with malnutrition during infancy. This study followed the nutritional status of a cohort of 120 infants from birth to 9 months of age in an arsenic contaminated area in Bangladesh. Anthropometric data was collected at 3, 6 and 9 months of the infant’s age for nutritional assessment whereas arsenic exposure level was assessed via tube well drinking water arsenic concentration at the initiation of the study. Weight and height measurements were converted to Z-scores of weight for age (WAZ-underweight), height for age (HAZ-stunting), weight for height (WHZ-wasting) for children by comparing with WHO growth standard. Arsenic exposure levels were categorized as <50 μg/L and ≥50 μg/L. Stunting rates (<−2 SD) were 10% at 3 months and 44% at both 6 and 9 months. Wasting rates (<−2 SD) were 23.3% at 3 months and underweight rates (<−2 SD) were 25% and 10% at 3 and 6 months of age, respectively. There was a significant association of stunting with household drinking water arsenic exposure ≥50 μg/L at age of 9 months (p = 0.009). Except for stunting at 9 months of age, we did not find any significant changes in other nutritional indices over time or with levels of household arsenic exposure in this study. Our study suggests no association between household arsenic exposure and under-nutrition during infancy; with limiting factors being small sample size and short follow-up. Difference in stunting at 9 months by arsenic exposure at ≥50 μg/L might be a statistical incongruity. Further longitudinal studies are warranted to establish any association. View Full-Text
Keywords: arsenic; Bangladesh; drinking water; infants; children; malnutrition; underweight; stunting; wasting arsenic; Bangladesh; drinking water; infants; children; malnutrition; underweight; stunting; wasting
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Milton, A.H.; Attia, J.; Alauddin, M.; McEvoy, M.; McElduff, P.; Hussain, S.; Akhter, A.; Akter, S.; Islam, M.M.; Ahmed, A.S.; Iyengar, V.; Islam, M.R. Assessment of Nutritional Status of Infants Living in Arsenic-Contaminated Areas in Bangladesh and Its Association with Arsenic Exposure. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 57.

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